SMS is a very effective channel of communication yet to be fully exploited by marketers.
It is often neglected by businesses as a means to reach customers due to it being a very personal method of communication. That being said, figures show 90% of consumers prefer SMS messaging to phone calls and 75% wish to receive special offers on their devices. These figures indicate why the average click-through rates for SMS are high at 19%, with email trailing behind at only 4%.
Ensuring SMS is a core component of a marketing strategy is an excellent way to nurture and retain customers. With the average text message read and responded to within three minutes. In today’s world, customers expect brands to build a rapport with them over text, presenting a prime opportunity for marketers to capitalise on. Not only does automated SMS conducted correctly improve brand and product engagement, but it also assists marketers in delivering on the wider strategy of improving the lifetime value of customers.
However, policy is an essential tenet of brand experience in today’s world, meaning it is essential communication with customers via SMS is permission-based and used carefully. Useful and relevant information can be sent to customers via a brands’ marketing automation platform, but only for those who have opted in to receive text messages. However, any messages must have a focus on information the customer will want to know, such as delivery updates, purchase confirmations, loyalty point balances and event details. These automated campaigns deliver updates at a low cost if they follow this core focus and if implemented correctly, click-through rates could reach as high as 40%.
So, how can marketers leverage automated SMS to engage with customers? Examples include:
- Confirmation the purchase and payment have been taken, followed by delivery updates
- Links to further information regarding getting the most from a product or service
- Feedback surveys
- Promotions, sales, and coupons personalised to each customer’s purchase history
- Notifications and reminders of events – such as a product demonstration or check-in time
- Time-saving tips, confirmation of meeting locations with directions
How to guarantee value for customers through SMS outreach
The fact of the matter is that some customers may have had a bad experience in the past through spam texting, thus meaning its critical marketers protect their brand by ensuring campaigns are opt-in driven. However, evidence shows that consumers are now expecting responsible text messaging from reputable businesses. To build trust with a customer, you should only communicate with them via SMS when delivering value and permission should always be granted first. Automated SMS should never be seen in isolation but instead as a successful tool for businesses looking to grow across multiple channels.
To ensure customers don’t feel like they are being spammed by your brand, below are some simple best practice tips to think about:
- Secure fully informed consent - opting for a platform that has best practices built-in to how it operates can simplify this process
- Openly share confirmation of SMS enrolment, data policies and opt-out options
- Never schedule B2B messages out of office hours
- Pre-set frequency caps to avoid frustrating customers – the use of tools can support this
- Keep volumes and frequency low to start, then build up gradually
Experiment to drive growth
As with any growth marketing tactic, teams should feel free to experiment with messaging and the timing of communications, as well as frequency caps, to get a better hook on what works best. Using A/B testing is a good idea, as is paying close attention to analytics provided by automated SMS suppliers.
Done correctly, marketers will find SMS is a central part of their automated marketing strategy, they will find themselves reaping the benefits of personal relationships with customers or potential customers, that delivers on the wider strategy of delivering higher lifetime value for customers.